This poses an interesting but very simple explanation. In the explanation there are also some great truths we can garnish from God’s word.
Let’s look first a Romans 10:9-10 which is a PROMISE from God.
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
In all of scripture there is no promise that is as powerful as this. There is no other promise that can put wings to flight like this verse can. This piece of scripture summarizes all that Christ accomplished on the cross, and it gives the opportunity to all who are lost to become partakers in His redemptive sacrifice. Here laid out in the simplest of terms for even the most unlearned or ignorant, confused or bewildered individuals is God’s simple plan to save mankind. Believe on Him; believe what the scriptures say about Him, speak it out loud openly confessing that you believe in your heart of hearts that what the Word says is true, and He becomes your King, your Lord, and your Savior. The Christ of glory comes down into you and writes your name in the Lambs Book of Life. There is nothing in all of creation more powerful and glorious as this.
This is God’s promise to you. It is personal. It is explained. It is simple and easy to follow….how can there be any questions.
If we confess faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior, and really believe in our heart that God had raised him from the dead, we show that we have accepted the atonement for our sins. We will be saved by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us by our faith. In doing so we devote and give up to God all we are; our souls in believing with the heart, and our bodies in our flesh and by our spirit in faith confessing with our mouths, that we believe that He indeed is Lord. We are then partakers of His sacrifice on the Cross of which we shall never be ashamed before God; and in Him we will show His glory before men. We have accepted the unconditional promise of God through His Son Jesus. There are no strings attached, no hidden agendas. He died, we believe who He was and who He is, and we confess Him verbally. We set our heart toward Him and the covenant in His blood that redeemed us from sin, end of story.
Now let’s look at Acts 2:38 and see how these two pieces of scripture work hand in hand.
And Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized each of you on the name of Jesus Christ, to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,
We need only to look at the first 7 words of this verse to see the foundation that is laid for all the words to follow. Peter simply says, Repent (see Romans 10: 9-10) As long as this verse remains in the Holy Word of God the simple but unconditional terms of admission into Christ’s kingdom shall continue to be understood as faith and belief in Christ, and repentance of our sins. Man in his cleverness and ingenuity have exhausted in the vain efforts to shout baptism out of this verse as a God-imposed precondition of salvation, that is simply not true. It is however a command meant for all believers, that we should try to adhere to and follow as believers in Christ.
In looking at Acts 2:38 we need to look at the verse preceding, verse 37 where they ask “what shall we do. This again is answered in Romans 10:9-10 which is to receive Christ. Peter had the right answer. Repent.
The apostle exhorts us to repent of their sins, and openly to avow our belief in Jesus as the Messiah, and then to be baptized in His name. By professing our faith in Him, we receive the remission of our sins, and partake of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. When we repent of our sins we give ourselves up to Jesus Christ. The gift of the Holy Ghost we receive is that Spirit of adoption, that converting, guiding, sanctifying grace, which is available to all believers, but that in itself is a whole blog unto itself.
We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
Water Baptism is an act of obedience for every believer. It is preceded by repentance, as outlined in Romans above. By baptism we are acknowledging turning from our sin and selfishness to serve the Lord. It is a living testament of giving the control of our lives over to Him. Water Baptism is a public testimony – the outward confession of an inward experience. In baptism, we stand before witnesses confessing our identification with the Lord. It is also a representation of sound spiritual truth:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
When we are baptized we are showing God, ourselves and the world who we now are in Christ Jesus. It is a statement, I belong to Him: He is mine, and I am His. We have already proclaimed it before our Father as outlined in Romans and we have accepted the promise of salvation by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Jesus stood accused at His trial, it was a unique, first and only occurrence in the history of mankind, as Jesus was the first man to be executed for who He was, rather than for what He did. He died on the cross for who He was. He was asked, are you the Christ, and He replied “I am”.
When we receive Christ according to Romans 10:9-10, we inherit the identity of Christ. It is not an ideology; it is a personal relationship with the Son of God. This is the promise from God that we can receive redemption of our sins by the confession of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we follow that repentance in obedience of baptism we are proclaiming to the world as did our Savior, who we are. We say through our baptism, we are the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ; we are baptized as a confession of our faith in Him, proclaiming ourselves to be the sons and daughters of the living God by Christ Jesus. In Him we are who we are, promised by our confession as outlined in Romans 10:9-10 and proclaimed as outlined in Acts 2:38. This is the powerful effect of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans is a promise of salvation which we gladly receive, and Acts is a commandment proclaiming that we receive and accept that promise by Christ Jesus.